HISTORICALLY, the medical doctor has been seen as a healer — one whom you visit when you are having bodily ailments, and through his/her's knowledge and experience, drugs and medical management are instituted. Subsequent to this, you are cured. This noble profession has transcended time, and the general public have embraced and trusted doctors in this traditional role.
It's 2022. Traditional medicine still exists, and doctors are doing their jobs effectively and treating patients with their various conditions. However, a paradigm shift is occurring and doctors are taking on a new role, one of artistry. More doctors are entering into cosmetic/aesthetic medicine and offering varying procedures to enhance the aesthetics of their patients. The field of cosmetics has dominated medicine with millions of procedures being performed annually which continuously flood our social media feeds. Topping the list of cosmetic procedures is the popular "Botox", with 5.2 million Botox procedures being performed globally in 2020.
With time and the advent of social media, society has become more fascinated with maintaining youth whether it be physically with exercise and diet, but also with anti-ageing techniques in medicine such as Botox. Once taboo and thought only to be performed by the very wealthy of Hollywood, Botox has become the "bread and butter" of cosmetic medicine, being offered to all patients from all walks of life and also being performed by not only doctors, but also nurses and aestheticians.
What is Botox ?
Most people have heard the word "Botox", but what exactly is it? Botox is a drug that weakens or paralyses muscles. In small doses, it can reduce skin wrinkles and help treat some medical conditions. Botox is a protein made from botulinum toxin, which the bacterium clostridium botulinum produces. This is the same bacteria which causes botulism (a serious illness which causes generalised paralysis and potential death — not to worry, the doses of Botox used in medicine is not enough to cause this condition). This bacteria can be found in soil, lakes and in some intestines of mammals.
As a cosmetic use, Botox procedures can reduce the appearance of skin wrinkles (most commonly to the forehead, between the brows and around the eyes) and has now become fairly common in average men ("Brotox", as it is commonly called) and women of society.
In the early 2000's the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Botox as a treatment for various health issues, including eyelid spasms, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis — face/underarm), bladder disorders, nerve/muscle disorders and migraine.
They are also different preparations of Botox which are equally effective: Botox, Dysport and Xeomin to name a few.
How does botox work?
In order for muscles to contract, a chemical is a released between nerves called acetylcholine. This chemical attaches to receptors on the muscle cells and causes the cells to contract or shorten, for example, wrinkles on the forehead. Botox is a neurotoxin and prevents the release of acetylcholine, thus preventing contraction of the muscles and allows them to relax, for example, flattening of wrinkles on the forehead.
How is Botox performed?
Botox is normally given via injections. These injections are tolerable (comparable to an insect's bite) and can be performed relatively quickly to the area of interest (forehead, brows, around the eyes, underarm). The area is cleaned, and markings are usually made for where the injections will be placed. A small syringe and needle (usually insulin syringe), is then used to administer the doses. Depending on the location, number of wrinkles present and the purpose of botox, doses will vary widely. Within 72 hours, the toxin should take effect, however by two weeks, the full effects can be noticed and any additional doses can be given at that time. Botox can last for 3-12 months depending on the treatment.
There is generally no downtime for Botox, and patients can return to their usual activities at once. There may be slight swelling and pain to the area which disappears in a few hours. Ptosis (a temporary condition where the eye droops, if the Botox is placed too low on the brow) can rarely occur.
Other off label uses of Botox include alopecia, excess sweating to the palms/soles of feet and groin, psoriasis, treatment of wrinkles to scrotum (Scrotox) and eczema.
Botox is safe and effective for aesthetic/ medical conditions. Know your options with regards to Botox and feel free to seek advice and/or treatment.
Dr Daryl Daley is a cosmetic gynaecologist and obstetrician. His office is located at 3D Gynaecology Ltd. at 23 Tangerine Place, Kingston 10 and the office number is 876-929-5038/9. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org